BY SEGUN ADEBAYO, ABUJA – Minister of state for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba has assured Nigerians that the Federal Government would prioritise development projects in the country.
Agba, who stated this while delivering a keynote address at a workshop on South Africa-Nigeria Road Transport Infrastructure and Public Private Partnership (PPP), collaboration initiative in Abuja. said that despite the advent of the new Sustainable Development Goals and the noted benefits around the social and economic aspects, “sustainable infrastructure development implementation process still faces a number of challenges.”
Agba, who was represented at the occasion by his Special Assistant (Administration), Dr Phillip Ugbodaga, further said; “The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has therefore continued to target key infrastructure development spending and has stimulated the economy using a combination of fiscal and monetary policies as these are some of the strategies of reflating the economy.
“Government has also embarked on strategic prioritisation of development projects in the context of available resources.
“This explains the N2.145 trillion allocated to MDAs’ capital expenditure in the (proposed) N10.33 trillion expenditure in the 2020 budget.”
According to the minister; “All these steps are in realisation that infrastructure is critical to economic development, poverty reduction, and job creation.
“Infrastructure investment is therefore one of the cardinal objectives of the present administration as part of the social contract between the government and the Nigerian people.”
Describing the initiative as signaling a historic collaboration between the Development Bank of South Africa and Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), he said it chronicled South Africa’s experience in road PPP, resilient road infrastructure and urban public transport and had invaluable lessons for Nigeria and West Africa.
He also commended the focus of the workshop, pointing out that it was encouraging and germane in view of the opportunity it presented to learn from the experience of South Africa in the development of sustainable infrastructure through PPP, which, he said had been seen globally as a new development paradigm.
According to him “Under the right circumstances, we all know that PPPs can mobilize additional sources of funding and financing for infrastructure with long-term investment targets.
“The Government of Nigeria is determined to leverage on this so as to fast track President Muhammadu Buhari’s desire to take 100 Million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.
“However, PPPs are complex and require skills through different forms of collaboration with the private sector.
“It is in this light that the Development Bank of South Africa’s role as a development partner that has proved itself over the years as a dependable ally in Africa’s quest for self-sustaining development initiatives becomes important to accelerate infrastructure delivery.
“On its part, the Government of Nigeria, due to its avowed commitment to the development of viable and bankable PPP projects has already put in place alternative frameworks and enabling environment to encourage the participation of the private sector in infrastructure projects.
“I invite industry players to take full advantage of this. I urge participants at this workshop to come up with creative, innovative and strategic ideas on how we can leverage on the lessons of South Africa in strategic infrastructure development collaboration.
“I earnestly look forward to receive the communique with workable ideas and recommendations from this event for further necessary governmental actions.”